Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stella By Starlight free biscornu pattern for Blackwork Embroidery

Free Pattern! For those of you who have used my tutorial - the pattern for Stella by Starlight is here for your enjoyment! Just click on the link under the photographs below. Blackwork motifs on both sides remind me of potted flowers in a Victorian Conservatory, stepping stones in the garden, night time in the glasshouse. I am listening to Vic Damone sing the song as I write this...

The 5 page PDF booklet includes two charts, for both front and back, as well as instructions for the blackwork and the Scotch Stitch border.


Stella by Starlight PDF Pattern Here.

Tutorial available - How to Make a Biscornu

The pattern above uses Weeks Dye Works threads in 1311 Taffeta on 28 count evenweave linen. The scotch stitch border requires even weave linen in order to work, but if you only have Aida, then you can replace the scotch stitch with a Rhodes stitch. This smaller biscornu is perfect for a scissor fob, door ornament, lavender sachet, etc. The patterns could also be used to create a needle case or Christmas ornament (especially as any dark color will look wonderful, even white on black linen is especially pretty).

More biscornu patterns are available in my shop - www.RainburstEmbroidery.etsy.com

Have fun with it,
Caroline

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chess Biscornu Pattern - Freebie

This biscornu pattern reminds me of kings and queens on a chess board.



Each motif on the biscornu is a historical piece from my research into blackwork and embroidery of the 1600's in Europe. I worked this design on the reverse side of my pattern 'Juliet's Garden', which you can find on my Etsy site Rainburst Embroidery.

The pattern is 59 x 59 stitches - which is about 4.25 inches square when you use 28 count linen or 14 count Aida.

The fun thing about monochromatic patterns? The chance to use a variegated thread in any color you like. I find myself admiring the most amazing floss colors in the store - but may not have a pattern specifically for that color. So, I like having the chance to work with those high-quality threads on a small project. This is a good one for beginners who are new to even-weave linen. It can be tricky to get used to. But because this pattern is made up of smaller motifs, it's a little easier to keep track of where you are!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mamma Mia - A Greek Inspired Biscornu


I cannot help but sing along to music by Abba. I had so much  fun watching 'Mamma Mia' when it came out in 2008- and of course I immediately wanted to make a Greek biscornu! Something with those amazing colors: Aegean blue, red and turquoise and green. When Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried are in that scene in the bedroom, and there is that great coverlet covered in red cross stitching - I was thinking 'Who did all that embroidery?" Some amazing Greek woman, that's who. I would love to see more of her work. If I get to go to Greece some day, I will be actively looking in the markets for embroidered linens. So incredible. In the meantime, I 'll watch Mamma Mia again - and I will cry my heart out while she sings 'Slipping Through My Fingers.'

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ribbon Embroidery - Briar Rose Pattern

This is a sweet and simple biscornu for beginners to try their hand at ribbon embroidery. I created this one in 2010, after getting hooked on the amazing designs of Di Van Niekirk and Deanna Hall West. I found a great reference at Half Price Books, An Encyclopedia of Ribbon Embroidery Flowers - by Deanna Hall West - and set about creating this biscornu.

As you can see, I kept the border very delicate, and I love how it turned out! 
Chart 1
Copyright Rainburst Embroidery 2010
The overall pattern above is intended for evenweave linen, with each square representing two threads.  

Prepare Fabric – Strongly Recommended!
Mark center lines: Using a single thread of any color, work a basting stitch over four threads through the vertical and horizontal center lines. If desired, mark additional guidelines at intervals of 10 stitches (20 threads).
Whipstitch the outer edges of the fabric to prevent unraveling.
When using even-weave linen, each square of Chart 1 represents two horizontal and two vertical threads. Some patterns refer to this as working “over two.” In Chart 2, each line represents one thread.

Vine – See Chart 2 for detail
Use one thread of DMC 580 Dark Moss Green. 
Each line of Chart 2 represents one thread.
Use a Double Running Stitch: Come up at dot 1, and go down at dot 2. Continue to follow the dots, working every other stitch in one direction, and then fill in the other stitches on the return journey.

Chart 2
Copyright Rainburst Embroidery 2010

Outer Border - 
Using one thread of DMC 776 Medium Pink, work outer border as shown in Chart 1. 


Flowers and Leaves – Silk Ribbon Embroidery

Leaves:
The placement of leaves is indicated by the dark green lines along the stem in Chart 1.
Using YLI 171 – 4mm Dark Yellow Green, work ribbon stitches for leaves. 
Bring needle through fabric close to the stem.
Lay the ribbon flat against the fabric, along the line indicated. Pierce the ribbon with your needle, and slowly draw the ribbon through, allowing the leaf to curl. Don’t pull too tightly, or a straight stitch will result. Leaving the leaves loose gives a more natural effect.

Flower Petals:
Flower petals are indicated by the straight pink lines seen on Chart 1.
Using YLI 5 – 7mm Very Light Pink , make straight stitches for petals
Come up at the base of each line.
Come down at the outer point, and gently pull through the fabric. A toothpick can be used as an aid – placing the toothpick between the ribbon and the fabric as you pull through allows you to keep it from twisting, or pulling through too hard.

Flower Centers
Using YLI 12 Light Yellow 4mm, Come up at the center of the flower.
Work a loose French knot.

Finish as a biscornu, or add to a quilt, or needle book...anywhere a feminine touch would make you happy.

Enjoy - I hope you like ribbon embroidery as much as I do - it's so exquisite when finished.I also enjoy the fact that little mistakes don't matter so much, because in the end a loose natural look is achieved either way. There are wonderful books out there with lots of inspiration - so, if you want more information, designs or guidance - check out Amazon's stock. There are some beautiful projects waiting for you!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Christmas Wreath

This is a variation of a wreath design I did for a friend's wedding. I found the Rhodes hearts and stars so pretty in red, I couldn't resist doing the pattern in Christmas colors. In the picture, you can see I monogrammed my initials in the center of the wreath. I matted the work in red fabric to fit an 8x8 inch frame. It's pretty cute in purple, too. Have fun with it - and please visit me on Etsy - Rainburst Embroidery.


This is the original wreath I did for my friend's wedding. The colors were purple and black - and the bride's and groom's initials were ABC. I thought it was so cute, so I did this mini-sampler for them. It was matted with purple fabric borders, and framed in a black ornate frame.

She is a very talented musician, so I added little black musical notes throughout - the tips in black seed beads, with white pearl accents:

Here's the Christmas pattern. If you click on the image and print it, it should read pretty well:

©Rainburst Embroidery 2009
Here is the pattern in Purple:

©Rainburst Embroidery 2009


Leaf Biscornu

This is a variation on blackwork - so many of my patterns are! Traditionally blackwork is composed of graphic patterns done in black floss on a white or neutral counted cloth. I like to use to use the motifs, but embroider them in different colors. Here, silhouettes of leaves are surrounded by bands of green. I  love the color green - it's so soothing. My vision for this was of all different white or cream buttons in the centers of each leaf cluster. For more fun patterns, please visit me on Etsy -Rainburst Embroidery


©Rainburst Embroidery 2012

The three shades of green listed are Weeks Dye Works threads, but three shades of a harmonious, graduated, green palette would work.

1193 WDW Guacamole
2201 WDW Moss
1279 WDW Holly

The Vine is backstitched in Holly, the leaf veins in Moss, the leaf outlines in Guacamole.

Note:  I usually stick to DMC floss for my patterns because I want my customers to be able to find them easily - but if you are lucky enough to live near a specialty shop - I recommend trying the beautiful threads they have simply for the joy of it! Gental Art Floss and Weeks Dye Works are beautiful. One thing about many of my patterns - I keep a fairly simple color palette. This makes it easy to experiment with different colors. I like the idea that anyone can take my designs, and do them up in colors that go with their own tastes, home decor, or mood.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ellie Sampler 1878

This last month I inherited a precious object - my great-great grandmother's schoolgirl sampler. I still feel so thrilled to have something so wonderful. I have loved embroidery for as long as I can remember, and have long looked forward to the day I could save my pennies, and get my own antique sampler - and now I have one infinitely more valuable, because it it's been passed dawn through my own family.

When I brought it home in February, I heard a bell ringing in my head - I knew I had seen something like it before. So I began researching online. Sure enough, I found images of samplers so similar there had to be a connection. The style of sampler is that of an orphanage in Bristol - a story that is quite well known...that of the Muller Homes, Ashley Down. This orphanage now has a charity based on the beliefs of it's founder - George Muller, a man who believed strongly in the power of prayer. Online, I found a number of samplers done by schoolgirls at this institution - and they had all the same elements, the same alphabets, motifs, even similar layouts...but each one varied in their own way.

I contacted the Charitable foundation, and I also began doing some family history research. I found a little mystery. There was no record of my grandmother at the orphanage. Meanwhile, I found census records before and after the sampler was made - and my great-great grandmother was with her family, even though her father died when she was ten. Also, the family did not live near Bristol at all - but in Scarborough. A funny twist however was that her father was buried in Bristol when he died. Was this the connection I was looking for? Some more reseach and family connections helped me learn that her father was a ship's captain and his home port was Bristol. The family was taken care of financially - her mother had an annuity of some kind, and they were able to stay together. Not only that, but they had servants - so her circumstances certainly would not have led to her being placed in an orphanage. I wondered how could she have done such a similar sampler without haveing been at the school. As it so happens, the Muller Homes frequently sought positions for their graduates in service. Perhaps someone who worked for them had been at the Muller homes?

My next step will be to send the names of the servants listed in the census records to the Muller Foundation, and see if one of them might have been there. I realize the chances would be slim - perhaps Ellie's father brought back something from Bristol - patterns or another sampler for her to learn from. I may not ever find out exactly - but I am so thrilled to have it no matter what. Her work was so fine. I will be sending it in to have it restored soon (it needs a little attention), and then I will have it reframed. The photo above shows it after I gently removed it from the frame in which it hung in my grandmother's house. I can't wait to hang it up in my home after it has been conserved.